When I attended college, I majored in music and was in a ladies choir. One semester we sang a song about horses in a recital we were giving...all the pretty, little horses, in fact. The lyrics went on to list the horses colors and talked of the love of these pretty horses one stanza to the next. Sounds dumb, but it was actually a beautiful song, almost like a lullaby. This song provoked a thought...
What about all the ugly, sweet horses? Or even the ugly, stubborn horses? What about the poor horses, the hungry horses? The old horses, the sick horses? No, the song was all about the pretty, little horses.
Don't laugh. I began to spiral into my freethinking once again.
I was watching my favorite shows last night and I looked up at the full moon shining through my dingy window and I began to recall the day's events in my mind which included running into one of my neighbors at the grocery store. My oldest ran in to get the groceries and I sat in the car with my littlest one to wait. My neighbor seemed more frail than he used to be, greyer and more introverted than he had been. I rolled my window down and said hello and how are you. It had been a really long time since we talked. We always kept in touch, but the last year had been very quiet between us, ever since his wife passed away and a few other things had happened.
He looked sad when we spoke in front of the store. Back at home his car is always in the driveway, meaning he never goes anywhere unless he has to. I told him to take a peek at the baby. He said he didn't even know that I was having a baby. He looked at the baby for a second literally and said nothing and then said he better go into the store and get his things. My. It was totally unlike him to be that disconnected with me, but I guess we were slowly becoming strangers to one another.
And the reality is he's not so pretty. He's not really exciting and he certainly doesn't ever have a lot to say. He doesn't have a fancy home, go to glittering, holiday parties and does not have a lot of money. There's no charisma, nothing to attract the average person, but my neighbor's eyes spoke volumes to me in that moment. We used to visit, we used to talk often and I allowed him to drift off into his loneliness with my silence. He used to have a joyful tone in his voice, but things had changed and time, circumstance and age had taken a heavy effect on this man. And busyness and my "own" life, my "own" circle had taken over and I had forgotten about my neighbor.
And lately I have been dealing with my own post partum emotional roller coaster ride. Having a baby doesn't depress me, it causes me a great deal of raw contemplation, examination and introspection. It's been almost three weeks since I came home from the hospital and I have been forced to stay home and not be around and speak with other people unless they come to me or if I receive a phone call. I have had a few brief visitors, but not enough to keep me from feeling so lonely it hurts. Sounds silly to feel that way when you are in a house filled with your own family, but I felt desperately lonely, dying to break out of the confines of these walls and be with anyone. Really. I identify with being with people way more than I care to admit and maybe that is not a fault but a virtue. It's a huge part of who I am and maybe I am supposed to be that way.
There definitely is a hub of those people I "prefer" to be with and really, they are typically so busy they can't fit me into their schedule. Between church, work, family, friends, children, etc., well, you know the deal. I think I attract those who already have way too many friends, things and people on their plate, etc. I wonder why that is. I may be one of those considered having, "too many friends", when really, I just know a lot of people. Yeah, I know, if friends can't make time for you then they really aren't your friends some may say. I don't necessarily believe that per se. The reality is and the real question is for me personally...why do I need a "hub" of people I prefer being with? All the pretty, little people? Pretty, witty, funny, all together people who lack nothing, who think like I do when it comes to what we agree with spiritually. Nothing against them...they have done nothing wrong at all. But what am I doing?
Why do I need only these...or desire the company of only these?
The reality is...the world is full of people. Needy, hungry, lonely, hurting, ugly people. People that if they just received a hello and a smile it would fill a desperate void in their soul like a black hole swallows up the light of all the stars in its wake.
Another neighbor came knocking on our door the other day. He claimed the neighbor nearest him saw two boys messing with his spotlight that shines on his broken-down, antique car(that doesn't run anymore, mind you). They supposedly cut the cord to the light and vandalized the area. My neighbor is an alcoholic and he was drunk when he came by to quiz us. My husband mentioned it to our boys and they insisted they did not do anything. They are on the road in front of his home often, and wave and speak to our neighbor. I told him that he knew our boys and what they were like, that I didn't think they had done it and assured him that if there was proof they did indeed vandalize his property that they would be in big trouble. He smiled and said he knew it wouldn't be our boys, but he thought he'd ask anyway.
Sure enough, a few hours later I saw the spotlight shining as bright as ever on his old, broken-down antique car that doesn't run anymore. If the light was broken, the cord cut, etc., it only took him a few hours to fix the damage.
The boys were irritated that they were accused and said he was just drunk and crazy, etc.
Greasy hair, smelly breath living in a hoarder's home, jobless, and seemingly friendless. He has children, I have never seen them or anyone else for that matter come to visit him.
Sad. Very sad. And I see a person of value buried inside the exterior frail shell of a man my neighbor has become with time, age and circumstance or just foolish choice alone, but rarely do I think any human being picks this kind of life for himself on purpose. A loner drunk on my doorstep, babbling crazy accusations and it isn't the first time.
Does it matter that I or anyone else sees the value of this man hidden within? There are so many of these kinds of men, women, people in this world like this. It is dizzying. It is overwhelming. And the truth of who they are could be mine. It could be yours. Secretly now. Or one day part of your own journey in life publicly.
And really, these people used to be children and before that, pretty, little babies. Pretty, precious, little babies. Each and every one of them.